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Exiqon, Oncotech, Mayo Clinic, Luminex, Wyeth Research, Singulex, Ingenuity Systems, FDA, Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, Riley Genomics, Intergenetics, Institute of Environmental Genomics, LabNow

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Exiqon Buys Oncotech for $45M To Build Dx Chops; First miRNA Test to Launch in 2008
 
Exiqon said this week that it will acquire privately held cancer diagnostics maker Oncotech for around $45 million in an all-share deal.
 
Exiqon, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, said the combined company will market miRNA-based tests that will use Exiqon’s biomarker technology coupled with Oncotech’s cell-based diagnostics infrastructure.
 
Exiqon said it plans to launch the first of these tests next year.
 
Exiqon expects Tustin, Calif.-based Oncotech to be the marketing arm for the sale of future diagnostics products based on Exiqon’s LNA technology and miRNA biomarkers.
 
Oncotech supplies molecular cancer testing services to around 1,200 hospitals, Exiqon said. The deal will become final in January 2008, and should not affect the company’s 2007 financial results.
 
Oncotech also has a sample bank of human cancer tumors and a CLIA – certified testing laboratory in California.
 
The combined firm will employ around 200 staffers, Exiqon said.
 

 
Mayo Clinic to Use Luminex's xMAP for Thalassemia Tests
 
Mayo Clinic will provide genetic tests and other services using Luminex’s xMAP technology and will work with Luminex to develop testing for the blood disorder thalassemia under a new licensing and development collaboration, the company said this week.
 
The program includes collaboration and licensing provisions for inherited thalassemia and allows for the development of additional tests as well, Luminex said.
 
With xMAP, Mayo Clinic will add to its thalassemia services a molecular diagnostic test using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and bead-based liquid microarray technology.
 
Thalassemia, which is also called Mediterranean anemia, is a blood disorder caused by genetic defects that result in reduced blood cells. Around two million people in the US carry the genetic trait for the disease, the company said.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Wyeth Using Singulex's Erenna Biomarker-Detection System
 
Singulex said this week that it has installed its Erenna biomarker-detection platform in Wyeth Research’s labs under its Erenna Technology Access Program.
 
The ETAP program includes the Erenna, which is used to detect and count single molecules, as well as customized immunoassay development services, reagents and software and other services. Singulex is working with Wyeth to develop immunoassays on the platform to accurately measure specific biomarkers in human blood.
 
Erenna is capable of measuring low levels and small changes of protein biomarkers in a variety of biological samples, the company said.
 
Wyeth is currently using Erenna to validate several assays “that should help us guide our clinical programs,” said Ole Vesterqvist, senior director of Wyeth’s Biomarker Laboratory in Clinical Translational Medicine, in a statement.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Ingenuity Signs $6M CRADA with FDA to Develop Biomarker, PGx Informatics
 
Ingenuity Systems has entered into a three-year, $6 million Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the US Food and Drug Administration that will expand the company’s content and software used in biomarker, pharmacogenomic, and toxicogenomic research, the company said this week.
 
Ingenuity said the partnership is aimed at supporting the FDA’s drug toxicity and side-effects research programs.
 
Ingenuity, a member of the Biomarkers Consortium, markets IPABiomarker, a module of its Ingenuity Pathways Analysis software that is designed to help researchers explore, analyze and interpret biomarker-related scientific literature and data.
 
The FDA has already integrated IPA with its in-house ArrayTrack bioinformatics system under an agreement penned in 2005.
 

 
Oklahoma Group Puts $900K into Local Genomics Research
 
The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology has granted a total of $900,000 to three Oklahoma-based genomics research projects.
 
The money was granted under the state technology development group’s Oklahoma Applied Research Support program, which is administering a total of $1.9 million to a number of technological programs based in the state, Bradley Sutherlin, OCAST’s contracts compliance officer, told GenomeWeb Daily News.
 
OCAST granted Riley Genomics $300,000 over three years that the company will use to develop a rheumatic blood test based on gene expression profiling.
 
Another recipient, Intergenetics, will use $300,000 over two years to develop multiplex assays to study DNA sequence variations that could be used to help predict cancer risk and outcomes.
 
OCAST also will grant $300,000 over three years to Liyou Wu at the Institute of Environmental Genomics to develop microarray technology.
 

 
LabNow Lands $20M Series B to Develop, Launch HIV/AIDS Assay
 
Point-of-care diagnostics developer LabNow said last week that it has landed $20 million in Series B equity financing from private and venture investors.
 
LabNow will use the money for the late-stage development and launch of its CD4Now Biochip and Analyzer device, a CD4 testing system for use in the assessment and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients.
 
The funding was led by Austin Ventures and Sammons Enterprises, both Texas-based investors that also backed LabNow’s Series A financing, and includes a group of other private investors, the company said.
 
LabNow, based in Austin, Texas, said its sensor technology analyzes blood and other fluid samples “simply, rapidly, and economically,” and shows promise for healthcare applications as well as environmental and food safety testing and in homeland security applications.
 
The company said the CD4Now system uses an automated reader and assay-specific disposable chips to generate accurate CD4 cell counts in less than 15 minutes from a single drop of blood.

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